Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: April 29th, 2011

April 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on  Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.   Here’s the transcript for April 29, 2011 from our daughter,  Anjuli –  click on the photo below to see the video, or  here.   Enjoy!

–   Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for April 29th, 2011,  on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

– Our project of the week is the  U.S. Tax Court greenroof built in 2008 in Washington, D.C.  The D.C. area is well known for having some of the worst storm water control problems in America and the Federal Government along with the District Government authorities have recognized that greening its rooftops is the most practical and economical means of addressing this issue.  The United States Tax Court, one of a number of notable General Services Administration’s greening projects, was recently re-roofed with a Barrett Company 4 inch extensive “Greenroof-Roofscapes ®” assembly, adding to the growing federal green roof inventory within the Capitol District.  The green roof initiative is reducing the storm water runoff volume while providing the many other environmental contributions that living roofs are known to provide.  Cole Roofing was brought in as Barrett Company’s Greenroof-Roofscape ® installer, who then hired Greg Long of Capitol Greenroofs to oversee installation and maintain the roof.

– To learn more about the U.S. Tax Court greenroof, click on our project of the week photo on our  homepage.

–   “What’s New“

–  Chris Wark, our Energy Editor, wraps up his final installment of his 7-part “Cooler Than Cool Roofs: How Heat Doesn’t Move Through a Green Roof” Energy series. Make sure to read “The Secret and How To Use It.

–  Did you know you can watch YouTube videos, like our latest Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World episode, the Cook+Fox Architects Office, on your DirecTV?  Just click on the link on our homepage or go to the greenroofsTV page and follow the directions.

–  Our April 2011 e-Newsletter is out, so catch up on all of the greenroof and wall news from this past month.

–  Don’t forget: our 2011″Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!” Earth Day Photo Contest has been extended until today, so go to our  Facebook page, submit your photos and vote for your favorite until midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow!

–  Read Linda’s latest Sky Gardens Blog posts: “GPW: U.S. Tax Court“ and “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: 4.22.11,” and Christine Thuring‘s “See the UK Green Roof Student Conference Programme & Register by 6th May 2011.”

–   “Upcoming Events“

–  April 29th-May 8th: is the WMG Water Harvesting Certification in Tucson, AZ.

–  May 2nd: is the 2nd Annual Massachusetts Sustainable Economy Conference in Boston, MA.

–  and May 4th-6th: is Greenbuilding – International Exhibition & Conference on Energy Efficiency & Sustainable Architecture in Verona, Italy. For more Upcoming Events visit our homepage.

–   “In the News“

–  Tanya Snyder of Streetsblog Capitol Hill Blog talks about “Philadelphia’s Battle Against Impervious Asphalt.”  She says, “In Philadelphia, your water bill used to be based only on your water consumption…now, your bill is a more accurate reflection of your water footprint, including the amount it costs the city to manage stormwater runoff from your property.”  Philadelphia is now the number-two city in the country for green roofs.  And they’re also implementing a multitude of public space improvements that are popular and desirable in urban cities for many other reasons besides stormwater management.

–  Kim North Shine of Metromode Media reports on “Metro Detroit’s Institutes of Greener Learning.”  The students of Lawrence Technological University in Southfield use its green roofs, rainwater collection systems, solar panels and other eco-minded facilities, like the Alfred A. Taubman Student Services Center, as living laboratories.  The student center was built with recyclable materials and has 120 geothermal wells that heat and cool the building as well as a 10,000 square foot green roof that controls and reduces water runoff.

–   To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our  In the News or  newslinks section of our website.

–   Have something you think we should know about and post on our website?   You can send us your green articles, videos and images to  editor@greenroofs.com.

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at  Greenroofs.com by subscribing to our  greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on  Twitter, liking us on  Facebook and being a member of our network on  LinkedIn.

–   This has been This Week in Review for April 29th, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velazquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by  The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by  Greenroofs.com.*

Did we miss something?   We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.

 

 

Greenroofs.com Homepage Redesign: A Feature Breakdown

March 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm

We’ve begun the Greenroofs.com website redesign starting with the Homepage. Our new design is about improving page navigation and making it easier for our visitors to find the content they want.   More white space has been created and we changed the font type and size for better reading.  We also kept in mind that search engines like to have a sense of what role a page plays in the bigger picture of our site, and we think that this has been accomplished.

New Homepage for www.greenroofs.com

HERE’S WHAT’S NEW:

Project of the Week
The Project of the Week section has been moved to the top of the left side in order to attract the first look of our visitors.   Well-documented eyetool analysis has revealed “hotspots” where visitors looked the most on a webpageand people look most at the left top side. This visual image of the featured greenroof project should instigate additional interest and thus a click-through that brings the latest project profile to the forefront in a separate window.   As you probably know, the project profile contains various photos and detailed content describing many important and relevant aspects of the case study.   The data associated with these profiles is administered on our MySQL Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database via PHP scripts.   Our database currently has 1,022 project profiles with many more being added every day. By the way, the content of this database is currently indexed by Google and Google News – which means when visitors search online, the results page will contain links to the data from our database.

The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database has been open to the world since 2004, evolving from the “International and North American Case Studies” portion of Linda Velazquez’ initial 1999 independent research study.    Read more about how Linda selects the Project of the Week.

The Greenroof Directory
Visitors looking for companies to work with on their projects now have a quick search capability from the homepage, direct to the Greenroof Directory.

The Greenroof Directory is also a MySQL database which contains essential information (contact, products, services, photos, etc.) about Manufacturers, Suppliers, Professional Services, and Organizations in the greenroof industry.

All this information is searchable from the main Directory page and now, for the first time, from our homepage with our new quick search feature.   The most popular main categories are highlighted in this new search box, and you can also access more categories from here, too.

By the way, the content in this directory is also indexed by Google and Google News.

In a guest feature article submitted by Adam Henige, a Web consultant, he states “An analysis of search engine data for 2009 clearly demonstrates a rising trend in the general public’s awareness of and interest in green roofs. Looking at these estimates for a cross section of the most popular general roofing terms and green roofing terms performed on search engines, there was growth in both areas, but by November the monthly search volume had grown only 51 percent for general roofing terms while green roofing terms had grown 155 percent.”

No one knows the secret formula that search engines use in order to optimize  a particular  site and improve rankings, but fortunately for us, we have enjoyed the number one spot in all the top search engines for the most significant keywords in our industry for over 10 years.   In addition to creating lots of organic content on a consistent basis, we also have a high number of sites that consider us a great resource and thus add links back to us, which also improves search results positioning and site PageRank.   So, if you want your company to be found online, make sure you get listed with us (shameless plug!).

Video player
An embedded video player showing the latest videos from our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube has been moved to the top right side for better viewing.   YouTube is the most popular video hosting and sharing service and is owned by Google.   Their service lets users view and upload video files, and in addition to hosting videos, the service lets users rate videos, add comments, and subscribe to their favorite producers.

Public videos uploaded by YouTube online users are selected by us based on their relevance to the greenroof and greenwall industry, and then added to the respective playlist that feed the various video players throughout our entire website.   We encourage all of you to upload your videos to showcase and increase your exposure by sharing experiences, projects, interviews, tours, product demonstrations – with our  marketplace and the rest of the world.

Industry News, ResearchLinks & Industry Support
The extremely long Industry News content that used to be displayed in the  center column has been consolidated to a short list of the latest news with links to a new separate page fully dedicated to all the industry news associated with the greenroof and greenwall community.

The ResearchLinks section on the Navigation Bar has now been replaced simply with Industry, which now houses Industry News, Industry Support  and ResearchLinks.   Industry Support used to be under Greenroofs 101, which was the basis for Linda’s 1999 paper and Greenroofs.com.

Guest Features
You’ll find them now in a highlighted box displaying the latest two features with links to the full articles. If you are an expert on a particular greenroof or greenwall design topic, you may submit your content to our Editor and it will be reviewed for publishing on our site – just email your information to: submissions@greenroofs.com.

NewsLinks
The long list of NewsLinks has also been reduced to a shorter one of the latest few, with links for more news on our page dedicated to all our NewsLinks.   We have also added a section that will highlight a particular event during the month – like the 2010 Olympics, Earth Hour, etc.   Make sure you visit often for all your industry news!

Contributing Editor Columns
Similar to Guest Features, another highlighted section now houses the latest from our contributing editors, prominently displayed within the body of the homepage with links to the respective columns.

Other changes
·
The Google Search Box that allows for searching our entire website is now more visible.

·   The banners on the top and bottom of the page rotate randomly with a fade transition instead of the old slide in a sequential order.   This will allow for all of our advertisers’ banner ads to have equal exposure to our visitors.

·   Social Media icons are now top and center for easy clicks.   Make sure you stay connected with us by following us on Twitter, becoming a fan of our Facebook wall, joining our Greenroofs.com Network group in LinkedIn, subscribing to the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube and our monthly eNewsletter.

·   Finally, the bottom of the page is now filled with small logos from all our sponsors linkable to their respective color brochures in The Greenroof Directory filled with lots of pertinent information about their products and services.

·   The Sky Gardens blog box, Upcoming Events, JobLinks, and our Advertiser Press Releases and are still pretty much in their respective spots, just cleaned up a bit.

We’re still in our tweaking stages, and have a lot more work to do to the rest of our site, but we welcome your feedback for what we have done so far.   Keep us informed of all your greenroof and greenwall happenings, and stay on top of the greenroof world with Greenroofs.com!   We look forward to hearing back from you.

 

2009 Top 10 List of Milestones and Accomplishments

January 21, 2010 at 11:27 pm
Sunbeams at sunset from Webshots

As we continue to ring in 2010 we hope you enjoyed warm holidays with family and friends and celebrated the New Year with renewed hope for the future.   Can you believe we’ve entered a new decade?   Shall we call it 2K10, Twenty Ten, or just good old fashioned 2,010?   In any case, we’re finally out of the 0’s, now we’re into the 10’s.

Our world economy has been through a lot in the past few years, yet with a promising light hovering just over the horizon.   Although development overall has declined, there is continued desire for green buildings from both the public and private sector, and in general our greenroof & greenwall industry has weathered quite nicely.   Many of  us are  taking time to reflect on this passage of time and make New Year’s resolutions (another topic altogether!), and I was thinking of how far  we  have come since the German experience entered our architectural radar and into our collective consciousness in the 1990’s.   Literally thousands of vegetated roofs and walls have been constructed since then in  every continent except for Antarctica, with ever growing support from forward thinking  multidisciplinary professionals: designers, government officials, organizations, companies, universities, students and other  advocates looking to make Earth a little more sustainable.

Sadly, one of those special,  innovative people passed away last November 27,  the indomitable architect Malcolm Wells.   Regarded as “the father of modern earth-sheltered architecture,” he was a staunch advocate  of living architecture, known for his way ahead-of-the-times underground earth designs with living roofs  starting in  the 1960’s, see just one example below.   He leaves a legacy of what he referred to as gentle architecture,  design that would, in his own words, “leave the land no worse than you found it.”

 

Malcom Well's design for an eco-gas station, from MalcomWells.com.

The visionary Malcolm Wells' design for an eco-gas station, from MalcolmWells.com.

 

Many inspirational people and organizations have contributed to our current market,  and I want to highlight just a few success stories from the past year, personal and global.   So in my review, here are my favorite 2009  Top 10 Milestones and Accomplishments for both Greenroofs.com as a company and our international community as a whole:

10)   In 2009 Greenroofs.com celebrated 10 years of being in business!   We’ve seen a lot of progress and change for the good here as well as across the greenroof world.   The fledgling Greenroofs.com – “exploring the ecology of organic greenroof architecture” started out as 60+ pages in 1999 as the result of an independent research study I did at the University of Georgia.

What Greenroofs.com looked like in 1999.

By 2003 we changed our format and grew  into Greenroofs.com – “the international greenroof industry’s resource and online information portal,” and contained 600+ pages  at the end of  2009 (not counting the hundreds of  .php pages from The Greenroof Directory or The Greenroof Projects Database).   At present, each month Greenroofs.com receives more than 160,000 unique visits and about 400,000 page views, and we’ve also expanded our presence in social marketing, too, so now you can stay connected with us on: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, eNewsletter (our monthly eNewsletter consists of 10,000 opt-in subscribers) & YouTube, as well as our Blog.

Greenroofs.com in 2010!

9)   The  proliferation of living architecture is greatly  spreading and permeating into the areas of  design, policy, research  and  education through numerous world  conferences, congresses, expos, trainings, tours, and other events.   For example, the World Green Infrastructure Network (WGIN) – formerly the World Green Roof Infrastructure Network (WGRIN) –  held its first CitiesAlive! World Green Roof Congress in Toronto, Canada,  with the second scheduled for Mexico City this October, 2010.   The International Green Roof Association (IGRA) hosted the 2nd International Green Roof Congress 2009 in Nürtingen, Germany and  the 3rd annual  Green Roofs Australia Conference 2009 was held at the University of Melbourne.   Longevity was evident  with  the 7th National FBB Green Roof Conference in Ditzingen, Germany  and the 7th annual Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Awards, and Trade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.   By the way, look for the 8th annual GRHC conference to  occur in Vancouver, B.C.  on November 30 – December 2, 2010, rebranded as  “Cities Alive.”   Look for many new 2010 events throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, China, Singapore, India and more under Upcoming Events, where you can also access  Past Events.

8)   For the third year, we published our 2010 Greenroofs of the World™ Calendar.   I’ve already blogged about it, and we’re very proud of our first hard product.   And we thank our Sponsors for their support: American Hydrotech, Barrett Company, Conservation Technology, Express Blower, GREEN ROOF BLOCKS,  GreenGrid,  International Leak Detection (ILD), LiveRoof, Roofscapes, Inc., Saul Nurseries, Tremco, Xero Flor America,  and ZinCo USA.   You can find the Calendar on Amazon.com, but it’s a better deal if you order from us!

The 2010 Greenroofs of the World Front Cover

7) Green walls are firmly  becoming entrenched in sustainable design, evidenced by  high media attention, as much for their green properties as for their edible  gardening possibilities. We’ve had tons of news articles posted in NewsLinks, our huge database of global articles,  concerning living walls and green façades!   In fact,  they  were listed as #31 in TIME’s 50 Best Inventions of 2009 and  Triple Pundit recently proposed:  “Gardens Grow Up: Are Vertical Landscapes the New Green Roofs?”  – both featuring  the works of  Patrick Blanc.   In our business  you’d have to be living under a rock not to know who the renowned French botanist is; his often fantastical “murs végétalisés” designs stretch the limits of horticulture and design.   Since 1994, he has created over 140 public vertical gardens as well as many private installations,  including his most famous, the  Quai Branly Museum in Paris,  shown below.   Read more about green walls from Treehugger, Daily Telegraph, Daily Commercial News, The New York Times, Times Online and CNN.com, just to name a few.

Quai Branly Museum photo by Jean-Claude Lafarge on www.jeanclaudelafarge.fr

Quai Branly Museum photo courtesy and by Jean-Claude Lafarge on http://www.jeanclaudelafarge.fr/paris.html.

In 2009  Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the North American professional association, established greenwall research projects at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland, and GRHC has included an award  category for Green Wall Excellence in Design for a couple of years now.   In 2008 Greenroofs.com added our 8th Contributing Editor, George Irwin –  aptly titled The Green Wall Editor  – to cover this growing vertical gardening field, and new for 2010 we have altered the title of our Greenroof Projects Database to reflect the inclusion of these:   The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

6) Investing in green building and infrastructure makes good economic sense by integrating green building policies into wider economic development goals, and creates a new job market. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has prompted a gigantic increase in federal green spending, providing new money to all levels of government, aimed at stimulating the economy, promoting job growth, and lowering energy costs, providing an unprecedented opportunity for advancing green building and sustainability efforts in the U.S.    And last December, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported at least 138 U.S. cities with populations over 50,000 people have green building programs in place (compared to only 92 in 2007).   Referring to the economic recession, the AIA said “The downturn has had a devastating effect on construction generally, but sustainable building design continues to maintain and improve its market share.”   Read their 2009 in depth study “Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment” to learn more.

 

AIA 2009 Study of Green Building Programs by Cities

American Institute of Architects 2009 Study of Green Building Programs by Cities

 

U.S. economic stimulus efforts  encompass green energy and construction, including greenroofs along with other forms of green building, and  just one such example of Recovery Act funds benefit Washington D.C., where the Washington Business Journal says “Nearly $4 million would go toward building more than 100,000 sf of green roofs on city buildings, including libraries, firehouses and a demonstration project atop the parking garage deck at University of the District of Columbia.   The stimulus funds would also expand the city’s green roof rebate program to allow residents and small businesses to afford another 20,000 sf of private green roof space.”

And importantly, many green building programs are also creating “green collar” jobs.   In late 2009, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Booz Allen Hamilton conducted a study and stated “Green building will support 7.9 million U.S. jobs and pump $554 billion into the American economy – including $396 billion in wages – over the next four years (2009-2013).    The study also determined that green construction spending currently supports more than 2 million American jobs and generates more than $100 billion in gross domestic product and wages…The full report can be downloaded at www.usgbc.org/greeneconomy, where one can also find other research, resources, tools and information about green building and its role in the economic recoveries of professionals, businesses and the nation.”   According to an analysis by American Rivers and the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that a $10 billion nationwide initiative to install greenroofs alone would result in almost 200,000 jobs – the Senate is expected to consider its own version of the bill in early 2010.

DC Greenworks' efforts at the Reeves Center

SSBx with Green the Ghetto participants

Some U.S. leaders offering hope and opportunity by creating greenroof/greenwall-specific green collar jobs through training include Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) and their various programs,  i.e., “Green the Ghetto”  and “Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST)”;  D.C. Greenworks; Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative, and the  Urban Farming Food Chain.

5) Green Roofs for Healthy Cities launched the Green Roof Professional (GRP) accreditation   for North America.   The GRP is a measure of knowledge of established best practices and although a voluntary program, with the designation professionals can distinguish themselves in the marketplace.   This association milestone was at least four years in the making!   Currently with  more than 250  GRP’s in 2009,  GRHC  hopes to add more professionals in 2010.   Check their website for future  testing dates, and  consider attending one of their Green Roof Boot Camps to refresh and get you ready.   See my interview with Jeff Bruce, president of Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company, Chair of GRHC  and the GRHC Training and Accreditation Committee, which developed the Green Roof Professional program, to learn why the organization felt this accreditation was needed, how it evolved, and where it’s heading.   For more info on the GRP, see “A Video Introduction to the GRP Program” from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

4) Within the U.S. industry, major contributions were made in the area to develop best practice  wind and fire standards for greenroof design.   Since 2007, leaders from various organizations have been working hard on prescriptive standards, and  in 2009 standards were inserted into the International Building Code from members of  GRHC and Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI).   Read “Green Roof Wind & Fire Design Guidelines: After Three Years, Half the Battle is Won,” written by one of our Contributing Editors, Kelly Luckett, The Green Roof Guy, to learn about this winding road’s development of RP-14 and VF-1.    And stay tuned for updates with  his column  here on Greenroofs.com.

 

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Wind Tunnel Testing in June, 2009.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUe) Wind Tunnel Testing in June, 2009.

 

3)  The global Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database surpassed the 1,000 mark in December!   So where are all these greenroofs and greenwalls anyway?   Let’s continue to work together to grow, update, and share valuable case studies for our communal benefit, for free.   Even in today’s openly transparent society (think Google Earth), some people worry about confidentiality issues, and we only post information that is submitted to us by owners/project principals or that which is openly available through  various media channels, and we always list owners as “private” when requested.   The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database is now searchable by  24 fields, including specifically for green walls.   After our Home Page, the Projects Database is the next visited page on Greenroofs.com – make sure your projects and valuable  experiences are included here.

2)    My  albeitly biased personal favorite, Greenroofs.com inaugurated our first  episode of the Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World WebTV series.   Premiering  at Boston GreenFest in September, our new venture followed  on the GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube, and next on our own greenroofs.tv, where you can now see it in its entirety at just under 37 minutes.   By the way, you can also view our video offshoot,  “Greenroofs 101 from Greenroofs.com” (4:50) in Greenroofs 101 or directly below, which is a great way to  introduce the concept to newcomers.   Coming soon is episode 2, highlighting the gorgeous Cook+Fox Architects corporate offices in Manhattan, NY.   Our third episode is in the works, and more are being scheduled, so stay tuned!

1) 2009 saw some serious support for greenroofs, championed by professional organizations and governmental bodies alike. Global industry support has grown over the years, and many advocates continue to actively promote them worldwide.  For example, the City of Chicago, certainly the U.S. leader in greenroofs, now has over 7 million square feet of vegetated roofs completed or under development.   New support in 2009 includes:

North America:   In addition to offering eco-incentives for greenroofs,  currently Toronto has the most progressive policy in North America – last May  Toronto became the first city  here to adopt a bylaw to require and govern the construction of greenroofs.   The new bylaw will be required on all new development above 2,000 m ² (about 21,530 sf) of gross floor area and have a graduated coverage requirement ranging from 20-60%.   Working with a program budget  of $800,000/year, owners of industrial and commercial buildings can apply for grants worth up to $100,000 (Canadian) to build a greenroof.    Mayor David Miller predicts the rules and incentives will create 50 to 60 green-roofed buildings per year, in addition to their current 135 vegetated roofs.   Green Roofs for Healthy Cities supported the by-law against pressure from developers opposed to the policy.    See more details under Industry Support and at the City of Toronto website.

Toronto City Hall

Here in the U.S., in late 2009  ASLA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, worked with Congress to include the Green Act into the House-passed climate change legislation.   The Act would require the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to employ greenroofs, tree canopy coverage, and other site planning techniques to help reduce heating and cooling costs in certain HUD facilities.   Still pending before the Senate Finance Committee,  last January Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) introduced the Clean Energy Stimulus and Investment Assurance Act of 2009 (S.320), legislation geared toward creating high-wage green-collar jobs and revitalizing the economy through clean energy investments.   ASLA worked with Senator Cantwell’s office to ensure that a section of the bill was dedicated to green roof tax incentives, and  GRHC  provided technical support.   Under section 506 of the bill, residential and commercial property owners will receive a 30% tax credit for qualified greenroof expenditures.

As you may recall, Congress enacted Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to require federal agencies to reduce stormwater runoff from federal development projects to protect water resources and in October of 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance” calling upon all federal agencies to lead by example and address a wide range of environmental issues, including stormwater runoff.   Federal agencies can comply with Section 438 by using a variety of green infrastructure / low impact development techniques including living roofs.   Prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in coordination with other federal agencies, the “Technical Guidance on Implementing the Stormwater Runoff Requirements for Federal Projects under Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act” PDF is highly detailed and  instructive.

State and municipal  governments also provided policy support:   Former  Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine signed three bills promoting incentives in 2009: HB 1975 and SB 1058 authorize localities to grant regulatory flexibility and incentives to promote the construction of vegetative roofs on private homes and businesses.  The incentives or regulatory flexibility could include a reduction in permit fees, a streamlined process for the approval of building permits, or a reduction in any gross receipts tax on greenroof contractors as defined by the local ordinance.   The third bill, HB 1828, allows water authorities to offer rate incentives for vegetative roof construction, based on the percentage of stormwater runoff reduction.   In late fall, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC), and the Office of Environmental Quality created a Green Roof Loan Program utilizing money from the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund.   OEPA has made $5,000,000 available for linked deposit, below market rate loans to install green vegetative roofs within the service area of MSDGC on residential, commercial and/or industrial buildings.

Built Ecoroofs in Portland as of 12-09

Already a city offering several greenroof incentives, in October Portland‘s city commission approved a Climate Action Plan which calls for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050.   According to the Portland Business Journal, “The Plan calls for the city and county to take 93 actions over the next three years.  City bureaus must immediately begin implementing 15 of the new climate-related initiatives, such as establishing a tax credit for businesses that install ecoroofs and solar panels together.”   And last month, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District invited governments, organizations, school districts, and businesses within the 28 communities it serves to participate in their 2010 Regional Green Roof Initiative Program.   Among other prerequisites, proposed projects must minimize impervious roof area and maximize the reduction in the rate and/or volume of stormwater runoff.

The World:   Singapore is targeting 50 hectares of skyrise greenery by 2030 and its Urban Redevelopment Authority launched  the LUSH Programme (Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises) in April of 2009.   Offering financial and planning incentives to developers to provide greenery at the upper levels of high rise buildings, their goal is to make 80% of all buildings in  Singapore green by 2030. Quezon City, Phillipines has a new law requiring private and government-owned buildings to green part of their rooftops.    New commercial/residential buildings, under the Green Roof Ordinance (Ordinance 1940) signed into law by Mayor Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. last September, should  allocate at least 30% of their roof area for plants and trees.   In Australia, the Queensland Government signed a “Memorandum Of Understanding” with the Singapore National Parks Board late last year to trial vertical gardens and greenroofs in various cities in an effort to benefit from Singapore’s experience with skyrise greenery.

A splendid Sky Terrace at the One George Street building in downtown Singapore; source: The Star.com

Dubai Municipality launched a greenroof initiative in line with a Dubai law on green building specifications.    The Municipality’s strategic goal is to raise per capita green area to 23.4 square meters by the end of 2011,  with the green building project coming under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirate Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.   A public awareness  campaign  for greenroofs was announced  last month, committed to the “development of laws and regulations to keep pace with international standards in the field of sustainable development by planting green roofs and facades in the Emirate of Dubai.”   Traveling display models and educational publications will circulate residential neighborhoods and shopping centers and markets for a 12-month period.   Read more on the Dubai Municipality Portal.   One spectacular greening project currently on the boards in Dubai is the self-sustained system “Food City” below, designed by Green Concepts Landscape Architects (GCLA):

Dubai Food City; photo source: Inhabitat

The proposed Dubai Food City, conceptualized by landscape architecture firm GCLA.

 Well, those are my thoughts on the  important  highlights of 2009, and while on the topic  of Top 10 lists, Haven Kiers – our Design Editor – and I are compiling our 4th annual Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof Designs for 2010, and we welcome your input with  ideas and project example submissions, as usual!   Send comments to Linda@greenroofs.com or DesignEditor@greenroofs.com.

So here we are at the start of a whole new year – we hope you’re excited and optimistic about it, just as we are!     Whatever 2009 offered you, we hope you embraced new friends and opportunities and experienced great personal and professional growth, and we thank you for your readership.   What’s in store for our new decade?   We’ll see, but as the green building industry continues with positive signs of sustained growth, let’s also continue to collaborate and create a more sustainable world with eco-architecture embracing greenroofs and greenwalls as part of the overall green living architecture strategy.

“I woke up one day to the fact that the earth’s surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants.”   ~ Malcolm Wells

Here’s a gentle toast  to continued  health, love,  and  prosperity  for you, your families, and all of our  greenroof associates in 2010!

Happy Greening ~ Linda V.